Based on Kody Keplinger’s teen novel, The DUFF aims to be this generation’s Mean Girls. Labelled a ‘Designated Ugly Fat Friend’, Bianca Piper (Mae Whitman) enlists popular jock Wesley ‘Wes’ Rush (Robbie Amell) to help her shake off the label.

Director Ari Sandel deftly handles internet culture and wisely allows the cast room to improvise. Whitman shines as this generation’s teen outcast, but what’s more surprising is Amell’s endearingly well-judged turn as Wes.

However, as hilarious as it is relevant, The DUFF is too cliché-ridden to be a classic, and not nearly enough time is spent on Bianca’s female friendships.

Not clever enough to be genre-defining in its own right, The DUFF nevertheless follows successfully in the footsteps of its teen romcom predecessors, delivering both laughs and a genuinely touching romance.

RATING: 3/5


INFORMATION

CAST: Mae Whitman, Robbie Amell, Bella Thorne, Ken Jeong, Allison Janney

DIRECTOR: Ari Sandel

WRITERS: Josh A. Cagan (screenplay), Kody Keplinger (novel)

SYNPOSIS: When Bianca Piper is informed by popular jock Wes Rush that she is a Designated Ugly Fat Friend, she enlists his help in shaking off the label and reclaiming her identity.